Achieve the Landscape of Your Dreams Post-Pandemic
2020 saw an upsurge in outdoor redesigns—from businesses to backyards. Outdoor living investments topped the list of spending as everyone reconsidered the value of open-air seating or, for homeowners, a sanctuary.
Due to shutdowns, however, disruptions in supply chains were common and became major 2020 obstacles. Consumer demand then outpaced supply and drove up costs as products took longer and longer to arrive.
The lumber and resin supply chains took a particularly harsh hit. Lumber shortages resulted from dealers cutting back in light of falling demands at the start of the pandemic. Resin shortages were driven by “many resin manufacturers and distributors declaring force majeure on [many resin products]” in light of major storm fronts hitting Texas and the Gulf Coast. With resin being used for plastics, even PVC and sprinkler parts rose in price. A decrease in workers across the board also stunted supply chain flow, as there are fewer truck drivers able to deliver.
As the country opens back up, supply chains are patching, but the builder industry still cannot expect the speed and supply of pre-2020 years. Roger Ramsey from Ewing Irrigation emphasized that “we will not have the luxury of a full supply chain to lean on”—we are still in recovery, and it will take time to return to snap back.
According to Evan Moffitt, CLT, CLIA, PCA, from SiteOne Landscape Supply, however, “this pricing is likely to stick. Pricing structures will change. It appears that there is no end in sight in terms of the shortage” (emphasis added). Because of this, it is essential to expect your landscape to not only potentially take longer but to cost more.
That being said, there are ways to be strategic while still achieving the landscape you want. Here are four tips for property owners to stay on top of limited resources:
Do not marry yourself to a single ideal, and make sure to have a backup plan. Availability is still limited, and you should plan for the event that your specific materials might not be the best option. Says Ramsey, “Make sure you have an alternate in mind for each part of your project.” Be open to discussion with your designers on whichever aspects might see trouble.
Early and proactive communication of your needs will make for a much smoother schedule. Try to be clear about what you need to be done and when, and the business tackling your project will adjust as they are able. Ask for realistic timelines so that you know what you can expect. Be communicative with your vision, needs, and options so you can be accommodated quickly and without fuss.
Be Ready to Switch Gears
Supply chain disruptions are usually sudden and unplanned, which means that your project might not be finished in the expected timeline. If supply shortages make one section of your landscape lag, once again be flexible—encourage the pursuit of other areas of the project site and be proactive with any adjustments you’re ready to accommodate.
Prepare for Price Adjustments
If you’re on a tight budget, begin with a forgiving vision so that you can adjust as needed to any price jumps or extra costs. “Expect delays,” says Moffitt. “Things will take longer to get. Materials will cost more.” Once again, communicate thoroughly with your landscapers so they know what you can and cannot afford. They will adjust within your margins to make sure that any potential hurdles won’t hurt you financially.
Post-pandemic, property owners continue to invest in outdoor spaces, which means not only are materials in high demand, but so is labor. If you are in the midst of a landscape project or planning to start one, these four strategies will guide you cleanly through the process. Please contact us if you have any questions about your project.
“Stay Ahead of Outdoor Living Supply Chain Disruptions,” SLOXpress, CLCA SLO Chapter, April 2021, page 4.
With five acres of beautiful blank canvas, this private residential landscape presents an expansive front yard and a nestled tier design, providing a balance to the home’s modern architecture and the surrounding Atascadero hills.
Focusing on the acre immediately surrounding the home, Madrone created a grand main entrance and separate outdoor “rooms” with a cohesive rustic modern style. A main path leads to a wide staircase and covered patio, providing a majestic entry experience with magnificent views. Separate hot tub and fire pit areas rest below the main level, providing spaces for relaxing during the warm North County evenings. Around the back of the house, a private courtyard provides a more sheltered gathering space with outdoor kitchen, deck, and water feature, perfect for entertaining or simply enjoying a cup of coffee on a chilly Atascadero morning.
The plant palette, featuring Palo Verde trees and Agave, relies on textures and form to reveal the variety among the greens, yellows, blue-greens and whites. Modern elements such as straight lines, evenly spaced plants, concrete, and corten steel blend with natural materials such as gravel paths, boulders, and masses of flowing grasses to make each space separate and unique while still bringing everything together as a whole.
by Jules Welch
It’s easy to be overwhelmed when looking at an empty plot of land or a back yard in disrepair. Luckily for homeowners, HOA’s, and commercial property owners, landscape designers see your space as a blank canvas—a unique opportunity to meld function with artistic expression. Design style plays a huge part in every built environment, and often incorporates a colorful mix of the owner’s personality, designer’s aesthetic, and greater climatic and cultural context. Some design styles that are popular for our coastal California area include:
-Mediterranean and Spanish
There is a lot of overlap when it comes to style, but
certain core characteristics define each aesthetic. Read more about these
traits to find out what speaks to you:
Colloquially described as “modern” design, contemporary landscapes are influenced by mid-century modern art and architecture but are defined by their cutting-edge qualities for the present day (which, technically, could be any style). However, when someone refers to a contemporary landscape, they are likely describing a geometric style which features minimalism, clean lines, and grid layouts. Contemporary design is often used in commercial projects such as campuses, plazas, and office buildings; it may also be used to complement custom homes. These landscapes generally favor green foliage over colorful flowers, with intentional spacing and simple hardscapes like concrete or pea gravel.
Gain Inspiration: Andrea
Cochran is a renowned Bay Area designer known for her spacious designs with
an emphasis on form.
English Cottage Gardens came into their own during the
industrial revolution, when families fled city life for remote holiday cottages
in the country. This mix of ideologies brought a unique design sense which mixes
the formal with the chaotic. English cottage gardens can be identified by their
overgrown, lush look, usually incorporating lawn and border plantings among
tightly-grouped flowering perennials.
Gain Inspiration: Gertrude
Jekyll (1843-1932) was known for her craftsman inspired cottage gardens,
using color “rooms” to achieve dynamic and natural mass plantings.
Xeriscape is a style of landscape design which requires minimal
irrigation and maintenance, focusing on efficient use of water. Often using native
and native-adjacent plants, these water-wise gardens tend to evoke an arid,
desert feel. Gravel, cactus, and decomposed granite are the keystone elements
of a xeriscape. Designers also incorporate sustainable water-harvesting
elements such as planted swales and rain gardens into their xeriscapes. Native
California gardens can still look lush, colorful, and attractive, while still
retaining their drought-tolerant, low maintenance qualities.
Spanish Colonial Revival:
Most coastal regions in California have a Mediterranean climate, meaning that numerous plant species from Southern France, Italy, and Spain thrive here! Mediterranean design styles bring lavender, olive trees, and Italian cypress into California’s landscape. It is also the origin of our incredible wine culture. Often using plaza-style patios, pavers, vines, and potted plants, Mediterranean design makes the most of sun/shade, views, and crops. Sometimes used to describe Spanish Colonial Revival style, these gardens often incorporate stucco walls, tile, and cooling water features. Symmetry and striking, sculptural plants with colorful foliage often come into play.
What’s your Design
Design style can be subtle or overt, but it is responsible
for the feeling we get in an outdoor environment, whether familiar or obscure,
nostalgic or innovative, cozy or vast. Most importantly, though, it’s what
makes home feel like home.